In Myanmar, Buddhist nationalist groups have used Facebook to swamp public opinion with anti-Muslim speech. As elected representatives are pressed to follow these extreme views, Myanmar is showing the world how unreined social media can hurt democracy.
False information sways elections, and social media makes it worse. So governments are rushing through laws to block “fake news.” But in Southeast Asia, these laws will do more harm to elections than fake news.
Technology is transforming epidemiology. However, algorithms, satellites, and drones offer no easy solution. Ethical and political issues need to be considered to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of these new technologies.
Despite suspicions, China's engagement in developing Africa's telecom infrastructure has not led to an imposition of an authoritarian model of information control on the continent. Concerns should rather focus on the promotion of a top-down governmental model of development, which has proved inefficient.
China seems to be of two minds about blockchain, cracking down on cryptocurrencies while recognizing the enormous potential of the technology behind them. Only permissioned, centralized versions of blockchain will be allowed to develop in China, but doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a technology designed to be open, in more ways than one?
Since the practice of cloning farm animals is under-regulated in countries like Argentina, Brazil, and the US, European supermarkets may be selling meat and dairy products produced from clones, despite EU banning. With better regulation at both national and global levels, more accurate data could be produced to enhance transparency and traceability.
The age of AI and automation is upon us. This may be music to the ears of technologists, businesses, and investors, but Asia’s factory workers will be severely affected when computers and robots take over labor-intensive jobs. To help workers navigate the new economy, governments and businesses should invest in social safety net programs and education.
The world is looking on uneasily as China challenges the United States as a technological power, but a zero-sum game is not an inevitability. Governments, businesses, and civil society can come together to help the world break out of this duopoly for a more sustainable future.
The popularization of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has led universities to rethink their missions. “Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens,” a prize-winning MOOC at The University of Hong Kong, combines classroom and online learning to enhance students' exposure to the world. Far from taking teachers out of the learning experience, the MOOC enriches the value of the student-teacher relationship beyond the classroom.
With their focus on economic development through innovation, the countries of East Asia are rising quickly through the ranks of the Global Innovation Index. These countries are not merely growing individually—they are growing with one another.